Invalid Vehicles

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Health – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th July 1964.

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Photo of Mr William Worsley Mr William Worsley , Keighley 12:00 am, 6th July 1964

asked the Minister of Health whether he will now amend the regulations so as to allow the carrying of a passenger in such invalid tricycles as have room for them.

Photo of Mr Arthur Probert Mr Arthur Probert , Aberdare

asked the Minister of Health if he will now give approval for the provision of cars for the industrial-disabled paraplegics.

Photo of Mr William Whitlock Mr William Whitlock , Nottingham North

asked the Minister of Health if he will make a further statement about the provision of two-seater cars for civilian disabled persons in lieu of invalid tricycles in special circumstances.

Photo of Mr Anthony Barber Mr Anthony Barber , Doncaster

I am advised that the carriage of a passenger in an invalid tricycle would be dangerous. I hope very soon to have completed a review of the whole question of invalid vehicles.

Photo of Mr William Worsley Mr William Worsley , Keighley

Can my right hon. Friend give an indication of when he will have completed this review and, in particular, whether he will make a statement before the House rises for the Summer Recess? Is he aware that many people feel that these invalid tricycles could be used by two people, particularly for married couples who are both incapacitated, and that this would be of immense value?

Photo of Mr Anthony Barber Mr Anthony Barber , Doncaster

In answer to the second part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question, of course I see the great social advantage of being able to carry a passenger in an invalid tricycle, but I am told that accidents have occurred when a passenger has been carried and that in some cases this has seemed to have been the result of the vehicle having become unstable.

In reply to the first part, I certainly hope that I will have completed my review and be in a position to inform the House before we rise for the Summer Recess. I would not like to make any firm promise, because this is a much more complex matter than I had at first appreciated. It is not simply a matter of whether one provides motor cars instead of tricycles, for it involves a number of medical, social and financial aspects. However, I hope to be in a position to announce my conclusion to the House before the Summer Recess.

Photo of Mr Arthur Probert Mr Arthur Probert , Aberdare

I welcome the Minister's statement about his intention to make an announcement before we rise for the Recess. Is he aware that hon. Members who represent constituencies where the incidence of disablement resulting from industrial injuries, particularly mining disablement, is high are sick and tired of this proscrastination on the part of the Government? Does the right hon. Gentleman not agree that the continued treatment of the industrially disabled—the cruel discrimination that takes place between those who have been injured through industrial accidents and are severely disabled and those who receive their injuries in another way—requires action on the part of the Government?

Photo of Mr Anthony Barber Mr Anthony Barber , Doncaster

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that there is no question of procrastination here. I am trying to reach the best conclusion I can. As to his remarks about discrimination, with due respect to the hon. Member, if I were to do as he suggests in his Question—and I have, of course, given serious thought to his suggestion—that would be discrimination in favour of industrially disabled paraplegics over other people who are equally disabled and for whom provision is made within the National Health Service; and I do not think that that would be right.

Photo of Mr William Whitlock Mr William Whitlock , Nottingham North

Do not the difficulties mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman apply to all disabled people, and is it not illogical that the war disabled should have two-seater cars while the industrially disabled should not?

Photo of Mr Anthony Barber Mr Anthony Barber , Doncaster

That matter has been considered on many occasions by the House and, as the hon. Gentleman knows, it has generally been the view of the House that some preference should be given to war pensioners.

Photo of Mr Arthur Probert Mr Arthur Probert , Aberdare

Does not the Minister realise that by refusing to agree that there has been procrastination over this matter he is refusing to accept that my hon. Friends and I have for years been urging that something should be done but have received no action from the Ministry? If that is not procrastination, what is?